Thursday, November 11, 2010


This is a barley version of the italian risotto.
It was born yesterday as a result of a silly mistake.
I had in mind a risotto with pumpkin to celebrate Halloween, but when I went to check, there was no trace of any kind of rice in the cupboard, not even the cheapest one. So I picked a light yellow box hidden in the very bottom of the shelf and, there it was, just the right quantity of barley for the four of us, lucky me!

We enjoyed our Halloween Eve with a very simple but extremely nice dinner.

for 4 people

400 g of barley
400 g of pumpkin or butternut squash peeled and diced
3 shallots peeled and finely chopped 
1 litre of hot chicken stock
150 ml of nice white wine
40 g of butter
4 tablespoons of extravirgin olive oil
2 handfuls of freshly grated mature pecorino cheese
sea salt
ground black and white pepper

Melt the butter in a saucepan together with the olive oil, add the shallots and pumpkin and slowly fry without colouring them, in other words, don't let them go brown but just soften them and let them pick a nice golden shade. This will take about 10 minutes.
Add the barley and turn the heat up, stir and add the white wine. Keep stirring until the barley has absorbed all the liquid then start adding little by little your chicken stock (it must be real hot so keep it in a pan with a lid on).
Now turn the heat down to a simmer and keep adding the stock until the barley is nice and soft. Keep in mind though that barley tends to keep a crunchier texture compared to rice. It will take about 30 minutes to get a nice texture, so get yourself a nice glass of wine and enjoyed it chatting away with your guests.
Add salt if needed.
Take the orzotto off the heat and add the pecorino cheese and the ground black and white pepper, stir gently, then put a lid on and leave the orzotto to relax for 3 to 5 minutes.
Serve the orzotto tempting your guests to more pecorino cheese...
Buon appetito! 

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